To Drill or Not to Drill

Getting the most out of drilling and how to stay consistent with it so you can accelerate your technical prowess

Location: Sherwood Park, Alberta

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Becoming better at jiu-jitsu takes a lot of time and effort. And an essential part of growth and development is drilling. Although some high-level athletes may consider live training a more important aspect, drilling has undoubtedly had a significant influence on their progression. Athletes such as Bj Penn, Demian Maia, and Caio Terra are well known for being prodigies and receiving their black belts very quickly. They were/are also known for drilling extensively. Drilling plays a huge role in both the understanding of techniques as well as the implementation of them during live training or competition.

Secondly, you can generally adapt the intensity of drilling, allowing you to train for more extended periods of time or if you are fatigued or injured.

So what are some things to think about when you are drilling in order to get the most out of that time?

  1. Understand the technique- Techniques can be basic or complex. Taking the time to understand what the technique is and how to drill it correctly is essential. Is it a speed drill? Is it a slower drill? Muscle memory is formed from repetition, and you don’t want to develop bad habits.
  2. Choose a good partner- If you can, find someone who wants to drill. It can be tedious, and having a partner that stays focused as a second set of eyes for you makes a big difference.
  3. Work on new things- Step 1 for getting better at something is trying it first. Experiment with different styles and techniques to find ones that work well for you. Starting slowly and getting faster/more efficient is best done in controlled situations.
  4. Situational Training- The only way to test your techniques is through attempting them in live situations. Starting from specific positions will help you focus more on what you are drilling. If you are drilling half-guard but only find yourself in half guard once throughout a roll, it’s hard to get better at it.
  5. Fix mistakes and repeat- Make mistakes. Figure out what caused them. Drill the corrections. Opponents can have different body types and reactions than your partner.
  6. Stay consistent and disciplined- There are going to be days where drilling sucks, or you simply don’t want to drill. Do the best you can to stay focused and drill the techniques to the best of your ability, even though it’s the last thing you may want to do. Remember, BJJ is a marathon, not a sprint. Make minor improvements every time you are on the mat. They add up.
  7. Have fun- Drilling can be tedious. The majority of practitioners would rather roll. Play music in the background, talk and joke with your partner, or even use it as meditative quiet time. Find a way to make the time enjoyable so you can stay consistent.

Whether drilling is part of your current training schedule or you don’t drill at all, try these tips to get the most out of your time and improve with the sport you love!

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